Jessica had this sweetness about her, a freshness like mint, or peppermint. When she walked, she bounced, and giggled. I was in love. She was exciting too. How many women want to show you something, without acting superior? She wanted to share a secret, but she didn’t hold it against me.
“It’s really close to where you live,” she said.
“Really? Should we take my car?”
“Oh no, let’s take mine.” My eyebrows raised a bit. Jessica walked around the back to a battered pickup truck. “Get in,” she said.
I didn’t feel like I was being told what to do, even though she was giving me orders. I couldn’t stop looking at her. It wasn’t lust—just something I wanted really bad, and I couldn’t believe we were going on an adventure so soon. She drove past the turnoff to my cabin, and the road sloped down the mountain a bit, to a dead end.
“It’s here,” she said. “How are you at hiking?”
“Oh, pretty good.”
“I have bread and jam in the back. Plus, six bottles of my dad’s brewed beer–that should help us attract ’em.
“Them?” I asked.
“Just wait and see. We’ll have to hang around until twilight.”
We picked wild blackberries—the kind without stickers, that grow twice as large as store-bought. They were juicy too. Huckleberry bushes stained her white dress, and turned my jeans purple.
“Are you going to have a family?” Jessica asked.
“I’ve always wanted one, but my life has been unstable, and the people around me, even more unstable—that’s why I came out here.”
“Oh, you’ll find someone,” Jessica laughed. “And I think you should have a family.” She smiled when she said this, like she knew something I didn’t. The yellow sun was changing red as it got low on the horizon. The path we were walking down, showed us a green valley, magical, simply magical.
“Nobody logs down there. It’s a box canyon,” Jessica said. “That’s where they live.”
“They?” I asked.
“You’ll see. Look down at your feet.”
I did. That’s when I noticed little footprints in the sand. There were hundreds.
“We’re getting close,” Jessica said. “We have to find the spot before the sun goes down. Then we’ll have until midnight to enjoy the revelry.”
Up ahead, I heard the trampling of many paws. A rabbit ran between my feet, and joined another in front of me. Two made four and four made eight, and the bunnies were multiplying, until there was a herd hopping down the trail. Jessica put her finger over her lips and motioned that we should slow down a bit. The trail went downhill, until it bottomed out into a clearing. It looked like Stonehenge, but the stones were smaller, and captured the light of the stars and planets so that the night sky became a planetarium, and all the bunnies waited like they were in a movie theater, anticipating the release. Their ears looked like a swaying, excited, field of grass. And the stone at the center was a clock, offering a podium, where a purple rabbit stood in the moonlight. A beam shined across its body, giving it a ghostly glow.
“That’s the king,” Jessica said.
To be continued…